At long last, Netflix has revealed the first look at its TV series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s iconic DC graphic novel series “The Sandman.”
The teaser for “The Sandman,” which you can view here or at the top of the page, was unveiled by Gaiman and series star Tom Sturridge (Dream/Morpheus) Saturday during the streaming service’s online fan event Tudum. And fans of the comics should be very, very excited about what they saw: An almost panel-for-panel recreation of a pivotal moment from “Sandman” #1 (1988).
In the short clip, we see “Lord Magus” Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), a World War I-era cult leader determined to achieve immortality. As part of this, he and his followers cast a spell intended to capture death which, as readers of course know, doesn’t work: They end up capturing Dream instead.
As you’ll see when “Sandman” finally premieres on Netflix, this has horrible, unintended consequences for everyone involved, not least of which because it worsens World War I and causes the early 20th century plague Encephalitis lethargica, popularly known as the “sleepy sickness.” And that’s not even getting into an eventual threat to reality itself.
But that’s a long way off. The important thing is the very first look at Sturridge as Morpheus himself, and about that, all we have to say is that it’s great. See another look in the character poster:
We also got our first glimpse at Dream’s sister, Death, in the form of an appearance by actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste. While she wasn’t in character during the presentation, she did come fully equipped with the cheerful, friendly personality fans know and love. But don’t worry, because Netflix also released Death’s character poster, which you can enjoy right here:
Howell-Baptiste also shared the show’s hashtag and Twitter handle, where new teasers and posters will exclusively premiere.
But that’s not all. In addition to Dream and Death, we also got the first glimpse of their scheming sibling Desire (Mason Alexander Park), courtesy of their poster:
Described as “a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven,” Netflix’s “The Sandman” follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.
Along with Sturridge and Howell-Baptiste, “The Sandman’s” large cast includes Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer; Sanjeev Bhaskar and Amid Chaudry as Cain and Abel; Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess; Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne; Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian; Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, the wise sister of Dream; Mason Alexander Park as Desire Dream’s sibling, and desire personified; Donna Preston as Despair, Dream’s sister, and the twin of Desire; Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, haunted exorcist and Occult Adventuress for Hire; Niamh Walsh as Young Ethel Cripps, a betrayed and determined young woman seeking to survive.
There’s also Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps, Master thief and woman of a thousand identities; David Thewlis as John Dee, Ethel’s son, who is dangerous, insane and on a quest for truth; Kyo Ra as Rose Walker, a young woman on a desperate search for her missing brother, who discovers a connection to Dream that neither of them can escape; Stephen Fry as Gilbert, debonair protector of Rose Walker; Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall, Rose’s best friend and travel companion; Sandra James Young as Unity Kincaid, heiress and mysterious benefactor; and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven, Dream’s trusted emissary.
Some of the casting decisions — including Black actress Baptiste as Death, who was depicted as a white woman in the comics, and Park, a nonbinary actor playing Desire, a nonbinary character — have received backlash on social media, which Gaiman has been quick to combat.
Gaiman is creator, executive producer and co-writer on “The Sandman,” with Allan Heinberg and David S. Goyer also writing and executive producing. Heinberg is showrunner.